We got to a place called "Brooke's Place" twice a month for grief counseling for the kids. There is a parent support group that meets during the kids session which Keith and I attend. We have only been three times but the kids have enjoyed it. I was so encouraged today with Samuel. He has been so quiet in his expression of grief for Luke and I have been worried that he has not been able deal with it. The staff at Brooke's place helped him make a memory box which he really got into. Tonight he wanted to fill it, so we went through Luke's things and he chose many special things to fill the box and called it his "precious memories". He chose 5 pictures to paste on it of Luke. He placed it on his bedside table so he could see it in the morning when he wakes up. Then Benjamin took one of Luke's wooden boxes and put a few special things in it himself. My heart aches for those little boys and what they have lost. I thought that Sarah would be harder for me- that they never met. But in truth I have had much more trouble adjusting to the boys. They were an incredible set of three. Luke brought out the best in both of them and was a champion for his brothers. I thought that I was meeting their specific needs and looking at them as individuals. I was rather enjoying them as a unit, my "pack of puppies". The easy and comfortable relationship they shared with each other was beautiful and seamless. I am so proud of Samuel and Benjamin for doing the best that they can to establish a new relationship with each other- it just hurts my Mommy heart.
Last February when Luke was so sick, Keith and I talked only one time about the logistics of Luke dying. We chose a funeral home, decided what to do with his body, and decided that we would do everything that we could to continue to have joy in our home. We then decided not to have that conversation again until we needed it. I felt peace knowing that those decisions were made and that we would not have to make them again. I decided then that I would not bury the best of me with Luke. I gave it to him when he was alive and I owe it to Samuel, Benjamin, and Sarah to continue to be the Mom I need to be to them. Those babies are the joy of my life and I do want them to continue to lose. They have suffered enough. That being said, the hole in our family and in my heart feels so big. There is not a moment that I do not feel Luke's loss. I read in a book an interesting analogy that really feels true- when a leg is amputated, the wound will eventually heal. You may even walk again- but you are always missing a part of you and your gait is never the same. I pray that the rawness of my grief will heal into something more manageable, but the Erin I was died with Luke. I am a work in progress of the women I am to become. I am trying to take the best of what I was and learn to be the best I can be. Facing the day to come takes so much energy and making the choice every day to move forward is hard. The kids keep me going. Sarah is so healing for me. She is nothing but love for me- her hugs and toothless grins soothes my aching soul. She felt everything I felt when I carried her and has kept me going after her birth. Making sure Samuel and Benjamin feel loved and cared for motivates me to keep going. I am trying.
We marked a year a few days ago of the day that we brought Luke home from his lung transplant evaluation. We had no idea that we would lose him in 5 1/2 months. We felt such joy that day- seeing all tree boys tucked in their beds. We were so thankful that he was alive and so proud of how strong and brave he was. We knew then that we had seen a miracle. We had time to enjoy him, spend one more summer, and in retrospect, say goodbye. This was God's continuing gift to Keith and I.